Three Responses Pagans Get From Non-Pagans

In this article we will be discussing the three primary responses that Pagans receive from non-Pagans when their religious affiliation is learned.

1. Fear/Hatred: “You’re going to hell”

Unfortunately, this response is all too common. Fundamentalist Christians believe that anything even slightly different from their own beliefs is ‘Satanic’. (It should also be noted that not many people, especially Christian extremists, even understand what Satanism really is). Imagine what goes through their minds when they learn someone identifies as a Pagan or Witch. They will either become fearful or outright angry, start quoting the bible, and say that you are going to hell. It would also seem that they don’t understand that quoting the bible to people who don’t already accept it as an authority is completely pointless. The best way to deal with these types is to first attempt to explain your beliefs and how they are clearly in no way ‘evil’. If this fails, as it all too often does, simply ignore the person. Fundamentalist Christians have usually gone through a lifetime of brainwashing and find it incredibly difficult to accept new ideas.  You’re almost inclined to feel sorry for them…

2. Bewilderment: “You know magick isn’t real, right?”

Some people are unaware that Paganism is a spiritual path that even exists in today’s world. Others, while being aware of it, may think that believing in such things as magick means that the practitioner is somehow out of touch with reality (but believing that the Abrahamic god had to send his son to die for our sins because a lady ate an apple is totally reasonable). I once told someone that I was preparing for a ritual and the utter confusion on their face was hilarious. Had I told them I was getting ready to go to church, I am sure I would not have gotten the same reaction. The best thing to do is to tell these people that your practice honours nature and celebrates the seasons in order to make it sound a little less ‘strange’ to someone who is first hearing of it. Those who think that Paganism is nothing but ‘fairy tales’ can be dealt with by explaining that we believe that the earth and Universe is made of energy that we should strive to attune ourselves with. This has a scientific basis and will help the person understand the difference between ‘movie magic’ and real magick.

3. Fascination/Interest

Certainly the best out of these three, this group is fascinated with the idea of magick. There is no doubt that occult mysticism has a certain allure that catches the interest of those who are not so closed minded. Although they may not practice the craft themselves, some people find the idea intriguing. They will not tell you that you’re going to hell or that magick isn’t real, but will instead ask you many questions about it. They see us as mystic people who have some special ability to be in touch with the great mysteries of the occult. Answer all of their questions, for they are generally interested, and be thankful that they exist. It’s nice to be able to have positive interactions with non-Pagans who true fascination with our craft.

The Problem of Pagan Infighting

All too often, it seems that Pagans are constantly belittling one another. For example, there was a video shared on the internet that documented a Pagan ceremony. The group that posted the video did not support Paganism, nor did they criticize it, but simply created it for educational purposes. One might expect a few fundamentalist Christians to comment such things as ‘Repent!’ or ‘These devil worshippers are going to hell’, yet most negative comments came from fellow Pagans.

The group in the video partaking in the ceremony was dressed in full ritual garb, with elaborate dress and jewelry. Several self-proclaimed Pagans commented that these people ‘look ridiculous’, ‘are the reason people think us Pagans are freaks’, and ‘no real Pagan actually dresses like that and dances around’.

Needless to say, I was shocked, disappointed, and rather upset by these comments. How could a fellow Pagan speak so ill of those who choose to wear proper ritual wear for their practice? If someone chooses to perform ritual or ceremony in casual street clothing, that is perfectly fine. It is their pr78051469actice and their choice. However, they have no right to bash a fellow practitioner because they choose to wear robes, jewelry, or other formal ritual wear. Doing so does not make that person a ‘freak’, it simply means that they take their practice seriously and choose to express their practice in a certain way.

As Pagans, we come under attack enough from the outside. Fundamentalists continue to preach that Witchcraft is ‘evil’ or ‘devil worship’. Materialistic atheists and other secular individuals think that our beliefs and practices are nonsensical foolishness. There is still such a lack of understanding, and sometimes overt hatred, by those outside of the community, therefore it is not wise for Pagans to belittle each other over such trivial things as how we choose to express ourselves in our practice.

If a fellow Pagan chooses to wear a robe or dance around a fire, they are not ‘freaks’. If you choose not to do so, that is your right and you should not be condemned for it. However, you have no right to condemn those who do. We are misunderstood by so many, it is absurd that we would attack one another in such a way. Communities are made up of individuals who may do certain things differently, yet all have certain core things in common. Common attributes of our community include; a reverence for nature, reverence for the Goddess and God, a belief in magick, etc. For a community to survive, it must be strongly united. If the Pagan community is to grow in strength and unity, we have no time to waste on bashing our fellow members based on what they wear during ritual.